There were about 100 creative women at the Michaels Makers Summit and I wanted to get to know everyone. It was a whirlwind and that didn't happen. But there were many I did connect with. They made an impression even if the visit was short.
I thought about how that works. How and why does one connect with someone else you just met? One reason stood out to me - people shared their story. Sometimes I didn't even remember someone's name but I could describe them by the adventure, drama or funny experience they shared. It didn't have to be a big story it just had to be their story, something that happened in their life circle.
Our stories help shape others stories. We remember them. Like these stories I heard this week...
@phyllisadventures - who's works for whole foods and teaches kids to create (and inspired a young boy excitedly venture into cooking) and is taking her first solo trip down (or up) the coast after Michaels Makers Summit
@gentrygygi - Her family watercolor business where they're all creative and she once traveled through my state and spontaneously stopped off at Missouri Star Quilt Company (near my town) and even though it was closed on Sunday just had to get out to walk around
@ucreateblog - hearing her tell of her fave movies/shows and how when each one came up her eyes would light up and she'd say *that* was her very fave, so fun
@melissmia - who loves her life and job of creating, traveling, having experiences all over and feels blessed that all of her loves (or at least heavy likes) came together
@amyrobisondesign telling of her getting a new Shilouette and becoming a design contributor but seeing her amazing gift to be able to strike up a conversation with anyone, ask all kinds of questions and jumping right in with the sharing
@kim_geiser_studios and her ready laugh, wanting to create poolside, her colorful bracelet and her awesome jewelry necklace stamped with "passion" that she seems to live by
@idknowhowshedoesit - being so lovely, talking about her family, her name (Gloribell) being a combination of her mother and grandmother's names and sharing how certain brands send certain products (and @kim_geiser_studios getting them shipped to her house) that you'd never want to blog about
@damasklove who shared her hiring story with HSN & American Crafts, how she works in the middle of the night, and seeing how she's a natural in front of the tv camera
@hissyfit_inc - giving out "makers gonna make" felt patches and @blendingbybetty giving out pins, mine says "dreams", both making their little gifts themselves
@crizza03 - how she encouraged Martha Forbes in class and helped set up her Instagram account (@theplaidlama)
@prettyprovidenceblog - shared a story of someone she knows (she might not want me to say who) accidentally left their gun (conceal carry permit holder) in their bag as they went through airport security and ended up in jail
@theartandsoulshop - being an admitted extrovert that was coming down with something and had to lay back (a hard thing for an extrovert) near the end
and @idknowhowshedoesit, @thedesignconfidential, and my artist/christian friend for listening that first night to my story (the one I didn't intend to share and ended up sharing a few times) about Leila dying and learning what creativity means to me.
So many more - @smiley_carolyn, @KsCraftShack etc etc etc but I must stop! All lovely women.
See. Stories stick. They touch people. We remember them. So, share vulnerable. Share bold. Share funny. Share hard. Just SHARE YOUR STORY.
Independence day has been filled with parades for a very long time for me. The marching bands are what the Boyfriend likes best but my favs are the floats. I'm delighted and it's almost like being a kid again.
I had another chance to do a parade float this year. Part of me really enjoys it and another part doesn't. It's a great creative DIY outlet that's a lot of fun but the uncertainty of how to do it and if it will turn out is a challenge. Some people think it will come together automatically because you're a creative and that it's no big deal, whlie others think it isn't going to work out at all. In the process, you'll swing back and forth like a pendulum.
There's a lot of people web searching this time of year for DIY float building info. Last year's 5 Parade Float Quick Tips (found here) has been viewed and reused. So, I thought I'd share 7 ideas about parade float designing.
Parade Float Designing • 7 Quick Tips
Since the float this year had a fish theme I thought I'd play that up with the tips.
#1 Fish for the Big Picture
You're likely doing this for an organization of some type. Think of their purposes for wanting the float. What do they hope for an outcome? Are they interested in the process and having a lot of people involved? Or is it an outreach in the community? Or is it a tradition of fun? Or is it to show a strong brand? Whatever the reason, you should understand it. This float was about involving people in the process, name recognition in the community, and a Christian message.
People: We had about 40 people work on the float
Recognition: Passing out info cards & candy during the parade
Message: Free to be Fishers of Men - Bible verse used as the message
#2 Fish for an Original Idea
It all comes down to having an idea. Sometimes that can be hard to do. One tip is to look for inspiration to borrow and then make it your own. Here are 2 inspiration images that I found.
I liked the idea of dots and stripes. I thought that would be easy for our group of varying ages to do. I also borrowed the color scheme of the group of Nassos' fish. Here's how our fish turned out. We made them out of paper plates, poster board, & paper mache.
Another idea I borrowed was from Helen Friel's paper work of an underwater scene that displays jewelry. I took her small version and went up in scale by a lot.
You can see that ours doesn't look like Helens but that you can see the similarity of the borrow. I used foam core (instead of plywood) so that we could have many young people involved in the cutting and painting.
#3 Fish for the Love
You're going to be with this idea awhile. Make sure you love it so that you can hang in there with it. Nothing says failure like hating an idea.
#4 Fish for Solutions
Things just aren't going to go 100% your way. Have that in your head at the start so when it comes up you already knew it would. Listen to others ideas during the process.
#5 Fish till the End
Don't give up. Sometimes things don't look like they're going to work out, only to be proved wrong. Stick with it. Creativity is often messy in the middle.
#6 Fish for Harmony
With a big group, you're likely to have a wide range of interest and skill levels. To make it look good and like everyone worked together keep a 1) limited color palette, 2) repetitive shapes, and 3) easy to accomplish tasks.
#7 Fish for the Wow!
Wow them in some way. Surprise them with something a little different. Make it stand out - in a good way. For this float I had the whale shoot water out of its spout. The crowd loved it especially since it was hot. I left an opening in the top of the whale and had one of my kids sit inside with buckets of water and a pool water shooter. You can see him trying it out on a passing friend. During the parade he was hidden from view. The water shot up about 15 feet in the air. It worked perfectly.
Hope these tips help you in your parade float madness. I don't know if I'll be asked to do a float next year but if I do I'll read through my own notes as a reminder but until then we'll say good-bye to float building.
Create a kit. A date kit. Ready to go, when you're on the go. Sometimes fun can't wait. So don't make it. Be ready. Everything you need for a date (or a group date, or to entertain kids) is in the kit. RTG. Ready to go.
This is the EZ Breezy Kit • When it's a beautiful day, take it outside.
Kit includes: blanket, napkins, drinks, appetizer, main course, dessert, and an activity of playing big ball volleyball.
We tried this out with a youth group and it was a hit. (And we actually did it inside a gym.)
So far, there's been a lot of art to look at, money to set aside to purchase art, friends to look at art with, a genre to narrow down and adopting an artist. A lot of ground has been covered in The 10 Steps of an Emerging Art Collector but it has mostly been virtual territory. Now is the time to see the light of day. For step 7 you are going to -
Accompany a Creative
Let's talk about what that means.
1 Pick a Creative
"Creative" as in a noun, meaning someone who is creative. Your Creative doesn't have to be an artist though they can be. But it needs to be someone who has an imaginative outlook, is an original thinker and has stimulating ideas. (It doesn't hurt if they are a good conversationalist too.) A "Creative" is a self definition not a title given by anyone else, though people tend to recognize it in others. You probably know people who you consider "creative" (maybe even yourself) that's who I am talking about.
Pick someone (or a couple of someones) like that who you'd like to invite to go somewhere with you. Let them know you are taking them for their creative nature and that you want them to share their thoughts at a particular art institution.
2 Pick a Place
You'll take your Creative to an art establishment that is non-commercial. It is to be a learning, exploring art outing without the pressure of sales people, gallery owners or someone who's primary need is to make money. If there is an art venue that has the specific genre you are interested in that would be a bonus. Here is a list of ideas of places to look for -
• university galleries
• graduate BFA shows
• library collections
• traveling exhibitions
• art groups
Graduate BFA shows usually run on a school calendar year. Larger universities and libraries will have collections available to see. There are art groups that have membership fees but have access to private collections and resources. In museums they have docents (a knowledgeable art guide) who will give commentary through the course of the exhibit. Look for a local place.
3 Pick Things Apart
After a tour go back through without the docent. Really look at the art. Look at the level of skill involved. Ask what it means to you. Let the Creative share any specific insights they have of art principles or theory. Have the Creative ask you questions to bring out your thoughts. Make observations. Make critiques. Make it personal.
Remember to record it all in your Art Journal.
4 Pick up the Tab
Offer lunch as a return kindness to your Creative.
Date Night Idea: Now that you have gone to an interesting art venue and know something about it go back with a date and razzle-dazzle them with your new knowledge. Then take them to the museum cafe or like eatery.